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Nine in 10 workers think Aussies should have free access to tech training to equip them for jobs of the future: survey

With report after report finding Australia has a significant skills gap when it comes to the readiness of students and workers to take on the jobs of the future, a survey has found almost nine in 10 workers believe that all Australians should have equal access to tech training that will equip and prepare them for the jobs of the future at no cost.

A survey of 1,001 Australians aged 18 and above working full time conducted by YouGov Galaxy and commissioned by Salesforce found 45 percent of workers believe it should be employers to put up the cost of training, while 40 percent believe government should bear the cost, compared to just 23 percent who put the cost on individuals.

The question of who should be paying is a significant one, with 63 percent of respondents highlighting cost as the number one barrier to accessing training to improve their tech skills, while lack of time to attend classes is a challenge for 51 percent of respondents.

Almost 40 percent of respondents, meanwhile, are uncertain about what type of training they should be doing.

It comes as concerns about the future of work due to technology and the impact of new gig economy business models, with their focus on casualisation, on the employment landscape grow.

The Future of Work report released by Airtasker last year surveyed over 1,000 Australians and found over 80 percent of respondents fear automation will see their jobs made redundant over the next five years.

Almost three quarters of respondents said they did not believe machines and technology will create more jobs than they replace, with ‘routine tasking’ and ‘precision tasks’ found to be the most likely jobs to be replaced by technology in the near future.

As these concerns grow, the survey found almost two thirds of respondents respondents are looking to sharing economy platforms to boost their earnings.

However, while such services keen to recruit casuals or ‘independent contractors’ to carry out tasks often tout the flexibility and choices they give people to earn, a report from the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work released this week found the average Uber driver is earning less than $15 an hour after paying for the likes of petrol, maintenance of their vehicle, GST, and the cut Uber takes.

The ABC yesterday reported that this is significantly below the $30 an hour for casual drivers working under the relevant statutory award.

Questions around earnings for those completing tasks on Airtasker saw the company last year partner with Unions NSW to establish an agreement to deliver workers a number of conditions.

As part of the agreement, Airtasker recommends to users “above comparative award rates” when they post jobs, while workers are also offered an insurance product similar to workers’ compensation to cover them against workplace injury and illness.

For those wanting to upskill rather than rely on the gig economy, the Salesforce survey found 95 percent of respondents believe Australian employers, universities, training providers, and tech companies need to collaborate more closely to prepare workers for jobs of the future, with 69 percent saying flexible, self-paced online courses available on demand with hands-on practical assessments would be their preferred method of training.

Featured Image | City of Melbourne/ That Startup Show / Photographer Wren Steiner





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